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Each week most PBS stations air Star Gazer with Jack Horkheimer, the world's first and only weekly TV series on naked-eye astronomy. The images on this page illustrate the show for the week of Monday, March 26, 2001.

How To Use the Moon and Your Fingers To Measure Distances In The Night Sky

Measuring angles in the sky…The separation between the two brightest stars in Orion (Rigel and Betelgeuse) is about 18.5 degrees while Jupiter and Saturn are about 10 degrees apart. By holding out an extended hand at arm’s length, you should be able to just cover Jupiter and Saturn.

The moon is about ˝ degree in width, or about 1/20th of the separation between Jupiter and Saturn. This view is from March 29, when the Moon passes by Jupiter and Saturn. The moon is actually a crescent on this day, but it is shown here as full to better display its size.


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